Dust collector systems are used to maintain a clean and safe working environment in a work area. There are many types of dust collectors, from a simple Shop-Vac attached to a power tool, all the way up to a multi-horsepower system with HEPA air filters.

A dust collector is usually set up with flexible mylar or rigid metal ductwork leading from the unit to any equipment that may generate dust or chips, such as a power saw, lathe, or sander. At each piece of equipment is a blast gate which can be opened to route airflow through the work area and into the collector. The blast gate usually also contains a switch to activate the dust collector's blower. The collector itself is a fairly simple device; incoming air is swirled in a cyclonic chamber, allowing sawdust and chips to fall down into a collection area. Fine dust is removed from the air stream by a filter or cloth bag before being discharged.

Dust collectors used with explosive, flammable, or hazardous dusts and mists are a lot more elaborate, usually being equipped with HEPA, electrostatic, or carbon filters.